Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/11/13/pollocks-news-update-eddy-guerrero-fifteen-years-later/
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November 13th marks fifteen years since the passing of Eddy Guerrero at the age of 38. I remember that day very clearly as I was working as a board operator at the Toronto-based radio station that also carried Live Audio Wrestling. We got the news of his passing early that day and by chance, former co-host Jeff Marek had phoned during a break, and I alerted him of the news as he had known Guerrero fairly well and was very good friends with Chris Benoit. That day, which was a Sunday, there was a TNA pay-per-view and it was one of those nights where the format had to be thrown out the window following the tragic news. I had booked Shane Douglas to join us live on the program as he was working as the on-screen interviewer for TNA and we typically tried to get a guest from the company after their pay-per-views. The kneejerk reaction was to cancel the booking but then, it made all the sense in the world to have Douglas on as he knew Guerrero and worked with him while also having to work that night’s show under trying circumstances. Anyway, the pay-per-view was the last thing anyone was in the mood for, but I was glad we did the radio show that night as sadly, those shows were typically the ones you remember most.
I didn’t know Guerrero but had interviewed him just before WrestleMania that year where he was working against Rey Mysterio and obviously, it had the lofty expectations of their 1997 match. That grew into the massive program throughout the summer where Guerrero soared as a heel with the fight over Dominik. It wasn’t that far back in his career where the charisma was greatly outpaced by his in-ring work.
Once he got to the WWF, it was the chemistry with Chyna that showcased his personality on a big stage. He might have risen faster if he didn’t have all the drug problems that led to his release in 2001 but he did, and that exit from the company was necessary leading to an independent run where people saw he had made significant strides in his life. He was only gone for a few months before returning in April 2002 and had the great tag run with Chavo Guerrero on SmackDown and broke through in 2003 where his upside was so evident as a potential main event level performer that could draw a growing Hispanic fanbase.
His death was a very sad one because his problems had been well documented, but he did a lot of damage to his body during those years. The passing of Guerrero led to the introduction of WWE’s Wellness Policy, which was full of problems and flaws in its first iteration but was a start. Today, you must acknowledge that the policy has helped and there is nowhere close to the level of deaths involving performers in their 30s and 40s associated with the company. The industry will never be a clean one, but the excesses have been mitigated and there are several factors responsible.
I cannot comprehend the blur those WWE performers waded through after his death. There was the immediate task of taping television that Sunday night as they were taping TV in advance of the November European tour. Not only did they endure the emotional toll of those tribute editions of RAW and SmackDown but then had to fly overseas for two weeks – meaning most could not attend Guerrero’s funeral – and return for the Survivor Series event working on fumes.
On another level, the period after Guerrero’s death was among the most tasteless in WWE’s history incorporating Guerrero’s death into its main storyline on SmackDown with Randy Orton. It bothered a lot of performers with some speaking publicly and others keeping their displeasure quiet. There is no question that the death of Guerrero was a massive loss for Chris Benoit, who appeared to never get over it as evidenced by the journal where he wrote to Guerrero and the stories that Vickie Guerrero told on Dark Side of the Ring this past season. In the following months, Benoit would also lose one of his mentors in Victor “Black Cat” Mar and a close Atlanta-area friend Mike Durham a.k.a. Johnny Grunge.
Since Guerrero’s passing, his legacy is enormous among modern-day performers that idolize him and is presented on WWE programming as one of the greatest ever, which resonates with a younger audience that wasn’t around by 2005 much less his earlier work.
**NJPW has announced that New Year Dash will take place at Tokyo Dome City Hall on January 6, 2021. It’s the second straight year where the event has moved after being staged at Korakuen Hall for years until it moved to the larger Ota Ward Gymnasium this past year featuring the retirement ceremony of Jushin Thunder Liger. The venue has hosted myriad pro wrestling and MMA cards in its history with New Japan last running the arena in November 2012 for the opening two nights of that year’s World Tag League. It is unknown what the capacity will be limited to for the show as past shows at Tokyo Dome City Hall have been listed as high as 3,300, according to Wrestling Data.
**Dave Meltzer reports in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Alex Zayne is, in fact, going to WWE. Zayne wrestled Tony Deppen last Sunday for Game Changer Wrestling, and it was advertised as his “final independent match”.
Zayne is the latest example of a young independent wrestler with tons of potential being signed to a major company. It’s a trend that we will see the true effects of in the coming twelve months as progress for independent talent is stifled by a lack of events and crowds to work in front of. While the lure of a major contract with a national promotion always existed, it’s exacerbated today when income for independent talent has decreased due to the volume of shows and if a deal is offered, the smart move is to take it.
The next step is the developmental process inside WWE when they are dramatically adjusting their approach to live events and NXT is unable to tour. At present, WWE is a system where it’s better suited for those performers with experience under their belts and can thrive rather than those in the infancy of their careers. We’ve brought it up several times, but a great example is Dominik Mysterio, who possesses lots of promise and has trained with several teachers but is best-served long-term to be working often as possible rather than on weekly television. In the pandemic era, he doesn’t have that option but a year from now, he’d be the example of someone that needs that ring time and logging as many hours in front of crowds that they can throw at him.
One day fans will be back, but WWE especially, is a company producing a television product and there is less reliance on fans and improvisation than at any point in recent memory. It leads to philosophical discussions about the proper way of training talent to be “WWE TV ready” versus the traditional model of training workers and will there be a dramatic change to the cultivation of talent by WWE in the era of big television contracts and a likely reduction in live events?
**Melissa Coates recently had a portion of her left leg amputated. After being admitted to a hospital in Las Vegas, the doctors discovered blockages spreading throughout and were forced to amputate from the knee down. A GoFundMe campaign to assist with medical costs has been launched to help the performer. Coates worked in OVW and later Deep South Wrestling when they served as WWE’s developmental territories. She later worked as the Super Genie alongside Sabu on the independent scene.
**The season premiere of Total Bellas averaged 416,000 viewers and a 0.19 in the 18-49 demographic on Thursday night on E! Last season in the same timeslot, the series averaged 490,000 viewers and a 0.22 demo rating.
**Later that night, The Miz & Mrs. on the USA Network averaged 455,000 viewers and a 0.17 in the demo. It was in line with the six-episode run earlier this year that averaged 459,500 viewers – but earlier this year had the advantage of NXT as its lead-in on Wednesdays compared to this season on Thursday nights.
**AEW confirmed on Friday that two previously scheduled dates in December have been canceled. The December 2nd event at the Lakefront Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, and December 30th in Rio Rancho, New Mexico are off the schedule. They stated that the New Orleans event will be rescheduled, and tickets would be honored, or you can receive a refund. They are just offering refunds for the Rio Rancho date with no announcement of it being re-scheduled.
**Talk’n Shop-A-Mania II airs tonight at 10 pm Eastern featuring Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Rocky Romero, and a host of others. Their show over the summer received a good amount of traction by promoting it being “so bad it’s great”. They are advertising Chad 2 Badd vs. Sex Ferguson in a “Ball for a Ball Match” for the show, which was taped in Atlanta and done as a spoof on this year’s Eye for an Eye Match. One thing you must applaud is that these three promote the shows aggressively and have done tons of interviews and other media prior to both shows.
**Anderson, Gallows, and Romero spoke to SI.com about the shooting of the second special and taping footage in Atlanta and Los Angeles, the inclusion of Mark Jindrak, and other names used for tonight’s event.
**It’s the 205th edition of 205 Live tonight airing at 10 pm Eastern on the WWE Network. The taped show from the Capitol Wrestling Center will feature a fatal five-way match with Curt Stallion vs. August Grey vs. Ashante “Thee” Adonis vs. Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari. The winner will receive a future Cruiserweight title shot.
**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of NJPW Strong airing at 10 pm Eastern on New Japan World:
*Tama Tonga vs. PJ Black
*Jay White, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens vs. Juice Robinson, Brody King & Karl Fredericks
*Tom Lawlor vs. Fred Rosser
*ACH & Blake Christian vs. Alex Zayne & Adrian Quest
**Below is the line-up for IMPACT Wrestling’s Turning Point special airing Saturday night on IMPACT Plus at 8 pm Eastern:
*IMPACT World Heavyweight Title: Rich Swann (champion) vs. Sami Callihan
*IMPACT Knockouts Title, No DQ: Su Yung (champion) vs. Deonna Purrazzo
*IMPACT World Tag Titles: The North (champions) vs. The Good Brothers
*X Division Title: Defeat Rohit Challenge
*Taya Valkyrie & Rosemary vs. Tenille Dashwood & Jordynne Grace
*Brian Myers vs. Swoggle
*Moose vs. Willie Mack
*Eddie Edwards vs. Daivari
**This weekend’s edition of Ring of Honor in syndication will feature Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor and The Briscoes vs. S.O.S. (Moses & Kaun).
**FOX 13 reported that the restraining order issued against accused stalker Phillip Thomas has been extended. Phillips is one accused of breaking into the property of Daria Berenato a.k.a. Sonya Deville this past August, later stating he was planning to hold Berenato hostage. Berenato appeared Thursday by Zoom to state she was terrified of Phillips in her plea to have the restraining order extended. Hillsborough County Judge Jessica Costello ruled to extend the order until the criminal case against Phillips is resolved with the accused set to appear in court next month.
**Kenny Omega was among this year’s class to enter the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame and issued the following statement on Twitter after learning of his induction:
I’m not even sure what to say. To be amongst those that have done so much for our sport is incredibly humbling. With however many years I have left as an active performer, I’ll keep trying my best to contribute something positive to the world of Pro Wrestling.
**GCW has announced that Chris Bey will face Jordan Oliver and Rich Swann takes on Blake Christian on December 5th at their Slime Season card in Las Vegas.
**Scarlett Harris has a piece in the New York Times on the cancelation of GLOW and the impact the series had. Last month, Netflix confirmed that the series’ fourth and final season would not be completed due to the pandemic and won’t return. They had just begun shooting earlier this year when the shutdown occurred.
**The WWE stock closed at $40.88 on Friday and increased 1.4 percent.
**Hiroshi Tanahashi turns 44 years old today while Sara Del Rey is 40 and Sunil Singh is 36.
**The latest episode of The Mandalorian has been released featuring Sasha Banks, who is billed under her real name Mercedes Varnato.
**Chris Jericho is this week’s guest on Shot of Brandi drinking vodka and cooking pasta.
**The Miz speaks to Barstool Sports about his first date with Maryse and going to a sex toy shop.
**On Gary Juster’s podcast this week, he discusses stories involving Ric Flair.
**Below is a special from 1986 on the history of wrestling in Atlanta:
**ESPN+ has surpassed 10 million subscribers, thanks in part to their ability to be bundled with juggernaut Disney+. On Thursday, Disney reported its quarterly earnings including Disney+ seeing a 21.8 increase is its subscribers while ESPN+ moved from 8.5 million subs in August to 10.3 million. While a lot of ESPN’s core sports rights are tied to its linear model, one of the major drivers for ESPN+ has been the UFC including its control of the U.S. pay-per-view rights. Once Disney+ was launched, users had the option of paying $12.99 per month for a bundle including Disney, ESPN+, and Hulu with the former surging throughout the pandemic. Back in February, former Disney CEO Bob Iger credited the Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone fight at UFC 246 for the addition of approximately 500,000 new subscribers and that the pay-per-view did about 1 million streaming buys on the service.
**At Friday’s UFC weigh-ins, replacement Paul Felder was the first one on the scales weighing 155.75 pounds for his short-notice fight with former 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos. Felder probably deserves a job for life after taking this fight on five-days notice, making the weight, and agreeing to a five-round fight against someone the level of RDA. Felder had been training for a triathlon, so that helps but he was also scheduled to call the fights on Saturday before Islam Makhachev withdrew from the fight earlier in the week. Given the circumstances, it’s added a story for Saturday’s card, which is otherwise a rank-and-file card with little in terms of marquee fights. For dos Anjos, it’s his return to lightweight after competing at welterweight for the past three years. While dos Anjos only went 4-4 at 170 pounds, he fought a who’s who of the division including current champion Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards.
Speaking of Felder, here is a powerful clip discussing his father’s impact on him and losing him in 2017 to cancer:
In a powerful behind-the-scenes moment, @felderpaul reflected on his father, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2017.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 13, 2020
Here is the line-up for Saturday’s Fight Night card and results from the weigh-ins in Las Vegas:
MAIN CARD (7 pm Eastern on ESPN+, TSN 3 and TSN 5 in Canada)
*Rafael dos Anjos (156) vs. Paul Felder (155.75)
*Abdul Razak Alhassan (172.5*) vs. Khaos Williams (170)
*Kay Hansen (115.5) vs. Cory McKenna (116)
*Eryk Anders (187.5*) vs. Antonio Arroyo (185.5)
*Sean Strickland (194.5) vs. Brendan Allen (193.5) – Catchweight fight at 195 pounds
PRELIMINARY CARD (4 pm on ESPN+)
*Miranda Granger (115.5) vs. Ashley Yoder (115.5)
*Alex Morono (170.5) vs. Rhys McKee (170.5)
*Louis Smolka (139*) vs. Jose Quinonez (135)
*Randa Markos (116) vs. Kanako Murata (115)
*Tony Gravely (135.5) vs. Geraldo de Freitas (136)
*Don’Tale Mayes (262) vs. Roque Martinez (244)
*Missed weight and fined 20 percent of their purse
**TSN 3 in Canada will be airing the UFC prelims at 5 pm Eastern and TSN 5 will be airing them beginning at 6 pm. The earlier fights can be watched on Fight Pass in Canada.
**Bellator 252 took place on Thursday night and featured two quarter-final fights in the ongoing Featherweight Grand Prix including the defense of the featherweight championship. The main event saw reigning 145-pound champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire stop Pedro Carvalho in the opening round of their Grand Prix quarter-final fight and advances to fight Emmanuel Sanchez. Sanchez was victorious on the same show beating Daniel Weichel by unanimous decision.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2020
One of the big stories from the prelims was the third consecutive victory by Aaron Pico, who stopped John de Jesus with a vicious TKO. The 24-year old has rebounded after losses to Henry Corrales and Adam Borics with Bellator putting him in less of a spotlight as he evolved his game while moving to Jackson-Winkeljohn in New Mexico. He is not fighting the cream of the crop in the division but it’s evident Bellator sees huge potential even after the setbacks and are nurturing Pico in a way that will pay dividends down the road as opposed to giving up on someone with obvious raw talent, who was thrown to the sharks from the onset.
The power of @AaronPicoUSA folded him in half 😳
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 12, 2020
**Here are the complete list of results from Bellator 252 held in Uncasville, Connecticut at Mohegan Sun:
*Patrico “Pitbull” Freire def. Pedro Carvalho by KO at 2:10 of Round 1 in the Featherweight Grand Prix quarter-final and retains the featherweight championship
*Yaraslav Amosov def. Logan Storley by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Weichel by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-46) in the Featherweight Grand Prix quarter-finals
*Aaron Pico def. John de Jesus by KO at 4:12 of Round 2
*Keri Taylor-Melendez def. Emilee King by rear-naked choke at 3:02 of Round 1
*Manny Muro def. Devin Powell by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Jornel Lugo def. Schyler Sootho by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Lucas Brennan def. Andrew Salas by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Roman Faraldo def. Pat Casey by KO at 2:30 of Round 2
*Trevor Gudde def. Khonry Gracie by TKO at 3:28 of Round 3
**Next Thursday’s Bellator 253 card features the Featherweight Grand Prix semi-final fight between Darrion Caldwell and A.J. McKee. It will be a long wait for the winner as last night’s winners will have to be booked for their semi-final fight meaning the finals are likely to be a way’s off.
**UFC president Dana White spoke to ESPN and stated that a heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov will serve as the headliner for a yet-to-be-announced card on Saturday, February 6th. For Overeem, he will seek his third consecutive win as he attempts to make a final run for the UFC heavyweight title following TKO victories against Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai. Volkov rebounded from a loss to Curtis Blaydes and stopped Walt Harris last month in the second round of their heavyweight fight.
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